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Sharing Hope in Kakuma

March 11, 2018

In the northern party of Kenya, near the South Sudan and Uganda borders, in a city called Kakuma, is the Kakuma Refugee Camp. Here lives 147,000 refugees from 18 African countries which have been driven from their homes by conflict. Starkey Hearing Foundation worked together with the UNHCR, UNICEF and the Lutheran World Foundation (LWF) to care for those refugees with hearing loss. The mission was held at a school within the camp; volunteers for the mission were comprised of teachers and staff of LWF who work in the camp.

A small group from the Foundation team flew into Kakuma on a dirt airstrip on a hot, arid day. Kevin Ramos, from the Foundation team described the following about the experience: “There wasn’t a lot of infrastructure or buildings. There was no start or stop to the camp. It was a refugee city, made out of metal sheeting and tarps, verses brick-and-mortar stores.”

“It was a pretty surreal site. We passed businesses and people selling stuff, trying to make a living. There was a sign that said, ‘no defecation,’ poor roads, pooled dirty sewage water with children playing in it.”

A majority of the refugees that who fit came from Sudan, Somalia and the Congo — any place that had a conflict in Africa, was represented there. One of the translators there, a 20-year-old Sudanese man, had lost all of his family on his trek to the camp. They were trying to go from Sudan to Kenya, and his entire family was killed on their journey from civil unrest and war Lords. Yet with all those struggles, he was a warm-hearted person that was excited to give back and excited to help.

Referring to this translator, Kevin continued on, “every person who came there had that type of story. Mothers struggled to get there.” But as you listened to their stories, and their struggles — which were immense – you wouldn’t know it as they all rejoiced in life and the gift of hearing.

Nearly 300 patients were served, and they were the most grateful people. Because of the circumstance that they were put in, their needs are met by countries that can give to them, but words could not express the gratitude and exuberant joy that they felt.

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